Sandy is a beach dog. It is one of her happy places.
Yes, she has multiple happy places. She is that kind of dog.
Not all my dogs have loved the beach. Huff in particular was not a beach dog. He disliked the sand, the wind, the water. All the beach things.
Admittedly. it’s not a great environment for fluffy dogs with long hair that gets tangled in the breeze. The tangles then get cemented with damp sand. So for most of my life I have watched other people with their beach dogs. Maybe I was a bit envious.
I am no longer envious. I have my own beach dog. I will never know if she got her name from her blond fur or her love of the beach. But it is appropriate either way.
I leave the car windows open enough to catch the breeze as we drive. She scents the air because – beagle.
At the first whiff of salt air, she goes on high alert. She’s riveted on the breeze coming in the car window, way before I smell it. Of course.
She’s looking out the windows. She is inhaling the air and quivering with anticipation.
By the time the car has been parked, she is ready to burst. And she does – leaping out of the car as soon as I tell her “okay.” Yes, I did get a tight hold on her lead before I opened the door. I want her to behave and she usually does, but in matters of safety, I don’t count on it.
Once freed from the car, she literally drags me toward the water.
I know, I am that person with the out-of-control dog. She’s not bothering anyone. On the contrary, she’s so fixated on her goal that she ignores people rather than stopping to socialize.
My social butterfly is not interested in socializing! She is on a mission, anxious to get across the boardwalk, across the soft sand, and finally to the packed sand at the water’s edge.
Then she stops.
She does not want to touch the water and the water should be polite enough not to touch her.
We walk a fast clip along the shoreline, watchful for ill-mannered water that ignores her personal space.
If you’ve been reading my newsletter (You have, right? If not go here to sign up.) you know my practice for 2021 is mindfulness. I admit I am really bad at it. My brain is far too bouncy to stay focused in the present, but with Sandy's help, I am improving.
My beach dog is teaching me mindfulness.
We keep a steady pace and I am relaxed. I am paying attention only to my dog and the joy she is experiencing. Mindful!
We stop for a water and snack break. I can finally turn my attention to the waves, still mindful, still in the moment.
Back home, we are tired and happy.
My brain goes off again with gotta-dos and what-ifs. Until Sandy plants herself across the doorway to the bedroom as I try to leave it.
I lean down to pet her and she flops against me. I sit. I pet her. Mindful.
My beach dog is home. Being petted. Drowsy. In her happy place. So am I.
Planning your own trip to the beach with your pup? Check out these safety tips for taking your dog to the beach.
© Copyright Suzanne Grosser